The infamous supermarket coffee aisle – a sight to behold, and a trap lying in wait. We all know the lure of hundreds of colorful coffee bags, but some of us are beginning to wake up to reality.
Supermarket coffee is rarely coffee worth buying. You need to know why.
1. It’s Not Fresh or Flavorful
Supermarket coffee is rarely fresh and almost aways over-roasted.
When green coffee beans are roasted, thousands of chemical reactions take place and the very structure of the beans change and begin to break down slowly. Carbon dioxide seeps out of the coffee cells, followed by the evaporation of aromatic oils.
After two to three weeks out of the roaster, coffee beans will begin to decline very rapidly in quality. Each brew will be less satisfying than the last one, and the flavors will break down until there’s nothing left to taste but old, stale coffee. Sadly, most supermarket coffee bags are well past the two week fresh period and have a very small fraction of the flavor they once did.
To avoid the obvious decline in quality, many coffee companies roast the flavor right out of the coffee beans using a very dark roast, assuming the beans were high-quality enough to have any real flavor. This makes it seem like the flavors are still there for longer, but the reality is terribly disappointing: most of the flavors have already been roasted out, and bitterness is the primary flavor that remains.
Buying fresh out of the roaster is always the best way to go if you want crisp, full flavors from your coffee, without any bitterness.
2. Most of It Is Pre-Ground
To make matters even worse, most supermarket coffees are pre-ground, which only reduces the amount of time it takes to become stale. While it takes two to three weeks for whole bean coffee to begin its rapid decline, it only takes about twenty minutes for ground coffee.
Pre-ground coffee is a convenience that sacrifices a stunning amount of flavor, but most don’t realize what they’re missing out on.
3. Supermarket Brands Can Be Deceptive
Many supermarket coffee brands have some tricks to selling that are less-than-honest. Lack of origin transparency, misleading freshness labels, and empty language are among the ways you can tell that a supermarket brand is trying to artificially pump up their perceived quality without actually having a quality product.
Take coffee freshness for example. Many coffee bags have a “use by” or “best before” date printed somewhere, giving shoppers the impression that coffee has a very long shelf-life. This practice is extremely common and misleading.
Instead, look for coffee bags that announce the exact date that the coffee was roasted. This enables you to know whether coffee is fresh or not, though most quality-centric roasters don’t let their coffee be sold after a week or so out of the roaster anyway.
Learn to read the signs of coffee packaging and never fall for these tricks again.
4. It’s Not Specialty-Grade
Coffee beans aren’t made in a factory. They’re delicate seeds of cherries that grow on coffee shrubs. Some coffee cherries are picked too early, and the beans don’t fully develop. Others are picked too late, grow with some sort of deformity, or simply don’t have healthy soil to begin with.
The quality of the coffee beans can be measured pre-roast with very little subjectivity by licensed Quality Graders. The best coffees in the world are labeled “specialty grade” for having very few defects and rounded flavors. The coffees you’ll find in supermarkets are likely to be “premium” or “exchange” grade, meaning there were quite a few defects and the plants weren’t well cared for.
Roasters don’t usually publish the grades of the coffee beans they source, but this is a truth around the globe: supermarkets buy mostly lower-grade coffee to avoid high coffee prices. You get what you pay for.
5. It’s Not Worth The Sacrifice
There’s no doubt that buying coffee while you pick up your eggs and milk can be convenient, but is it really worth the sacrifice? Are we so out of time that we’re willing to sacrifice the quality of our daily brew?
It’s something we have every day. For some of us it’s twice a day. That’s a lot of coffee we’re drinking – do you really want it to be of low quality and unsatisfying?
The convenience factor can be eliminated when you consider the integration of online coffee services into daily life. For example, at Hook Coffee, we send freshly roasted coffee directly to your door whenever you need it. It doesn’t get any more convenient than that.
so we hope you are convinced by now…
How about grabbing yourself a bag of freshly roasted coffee from Hook and taste the real difference?
Sign up now and get your first bag for just $5.
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